EY: My Assurance Audit AC Experience in London 2013

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The Graduate
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EY
#1

I just had my AC with EY for a Placement position in FS Assurance Audit in London (though was mixed with people going for the graduate positions)

Day starts at 9AM but everyone arrives early and waits in the Reception area. Here its very easy to tell who is there for the AC with you so make an effort to talk to them a bit, especially so the team exercise is that much easier. With mine there were about 16 of us total with 11 going for graduate roles and the rest for the year placement.

We were met at 9:30 by the leader for the day, she briefly introduced herself and gathered all our A Level certificates and passports as she did the role call (so it will be a very bad first impression to not have all they ask for together in an easy to access envelope!). She then gave out a table containing everyones schedules for the day (for me it went Assessment Tests, Individual Exercise, Group Exercise & Partner Interview but everything varied with some having a Partner Interview first thing and then going onto the other work).

INITIAL MEETING & ICEBREAKER
Once inside the main meeting room we’d be using there was a brief 5min opportunity to talk to the others and the assessors around you before the leader then gave a more detailed introduction and got everyone to say where/what they were studying, their name and an interesting fact about themselves. As people introduce themselves look at the schedule table to see and mentally note who you’ll be doing the group exercise with and make sure if you haven’t already to talk to them beforehand just to break the ice before you start.

ASSESSMENT STRENGTHS TEST
This is VERY similar to what I did online except on paper. For all the Verbal, Numberic and Functions tests, even the examples given were the same. For each of the 3 sections they read the introduction, allowed you time to do and then gave the answer to the 3 example questions before starting. For each section it was 8 Questions in 6 Mins with, I think, about equal difficulty to the Online version.

INDIVIDUAL EXERCISE
Immediately after the Tests we went through to the next room to do this (generally throughout the day there was very little if any breaks given). This is done using an ancient Laptop and Word 07. You are given a booklet of around 12 sides containing information about ‘E.Recycling Ltd’ (news articles, transcripts, basic balance sheet including an email printout from your manager. You then have 40mins to:

  1. A Word document using the info given to analyse the Sales & Profit trends of the firm for the last 3 year and reasons behind this along with topical issues in the Recycling sector. - You are told that this will be forwarded to the company itself so make sure its as neat as can be with headings etc and crucially that you spell their name E.Recycling right throughout!

  2. A Word document pretending to be an email to your manager saying how you will mentor colleagues you are leading on this task, skills you hope to achieve, how you’ll manage your time and what you will do if one of your colleagues has to leave for exam study.

Here the toughest thing is the time pressure and ensuring that you do not get carried away on the first task and run out of time on the second.

GROUP WORKING
Four of us in the group were given an initial 15mins to read information about what type of renewable energy EY should invest in before 20min to discuss and agree what industry and what company particularly should they invest in. Each of us also had our own factsheet for a different company in the sector. Then we were asked as a group questions from the two assessors (eg What would you all do if after you finished your report some of the figures you had were wrong?, nothing related to your decision itself)

As with all Group Exercises simply ensure that you contribute and you show you are listening to what others are saying. Here if you can assume an unofficial role of timekeeper or note-taker then it helps show that you are helping the team and especially the note-taker can be at an advantage for the questions as they have a good summary in front of them!

PARTNER INTERVIEW
Here I won’t say a huge amount as it will depend SO MUCH on how the partner approaches it. For me it was around 40mins including my questions and was nothing to worry about. Towards the end the questions drifted from ‘Why EY?’, ‘What would people say are your weaknesses?’ more towards specifics such as ‘What differences do you think are happening in the audit market at the moment?’ and that took up a large proportion of the discussion and my questions.

Chatting with the graduates afterwards they all agreed that the Partner Interview IS the most important aspect of the AC as they hold the final decision and even if you don’t preform as well in the other aspects they are perfectly happy to overrule that and offer you a position. Likewise you could excel at everything but if AS A PERSON the Partner is not impressed they’ll gladly turn you away.

THINGS I WISH I HAD KNOWN FOR THE DAY
Take a watch to function as a stopwatch - part of the test is that they don’t give any time warnings you must time manage yourself.

Chat to the other applicants beforehand - this made our teamworking later far easier than if it was the first time we’d spoke to each other.

Prepare information about the plans by the EC and CC to change the audit market so if the Partner Interview goes down that way, you don’t seem clueless to it all.

Be yourself - all the graduates said that if you make it to an AC you are smart enough to work at EY, a lot of the cuts have been done beforehand, and they hire you based on how you are as a person. If you put on an act they are trained to spot it a mile off an is the main reason many applicants get turned down (I was told)

I heard I was successful the next day, though the time period varies hugely between 2 and 48hours (successful or not) - they only gave very brief feedback, hence why I only described what I had to do not what is the official best way to do it.

Good Luck! - Reply if you have any Questions, obviously this was only my experience and opinions, certainly across all sectors and offices I can’t imagine them having identical ACs

#2

hey sharpinf, thanks for the information, most of the information on here seems to be for the old assessment centre so you’ve been a good help.
i just wanted to clarify a few things, i had my interview last week and i’ve got my AC in 10 days so i just wanted to check, for the partner interview should i just revise all the answers that i made for the first interview, i think i’ll be alright on the commercial awareness bit.

and for the individual task do you get the formula that you need for calculation or do you have to know this already?

i think i’ll be relying on these 2 and the tests to get me through as i had another AC last year and i got really nervous in the group task but there were 10 people trying to talk over each other.

Thanks for your help,

#3

hi aobasusi12_, out of interest what stream/location have you gone for? i passed interview for audit fs in london week before last and my application is still on hold. Thanks

#4

Hey Jf123, i’m applying for audit in reading. well done on passing your interview. i thought i’d messed up my interview but the manager told me it was good. I’m not so sure about the AC tho, cos the hr woman told me that they’re filling up their places quickly so there gonna be alot of competition.

#5

I thought I’d messed mine up as well…! Getting a phone call from the manager as well was a nice touch, havent had that with the rest of the big 4 yet. Best of luck with your ac!